Question #1. How Were the Estimations Developed?

Our Research

We began by performing detailed research into cost and duration factors for our beginning sample of 57 applications and 33 software vendors. This research was a blend of personal implementation experience as well as discussions with buyers that had purchased and implemented each application. From this we created our proprietary and original research, which uses a series of uplifts that increases the cost and duration of different applications per different software category based upon adjustments to how the software is planned to be implemented. This has all been placed into our self service calculates allowing for unprecedented ease of simulation of different scenarios and their impact on costs and timelines. This is currently the only research database of its kind that we are aware of.

The Benefits of Specialization

Our database benefits from having a wide range of applications across 10 different software categories. While there is never a perfectly accurate estimation, and there are some factors that we cannot account for (and which in some instances can be estimated as part of our service offering) because of the extensive research we have performed, we will put our estimates against anyone’s.

Our Expertise and Time Commitment to the Subject Matter

Many of the areas we have quantified, no one else has quantified, much less put in a self service form allowing buyers to calculate their costs, durations, etc. for themselves. For instance, we evaluated applications for risk using a model that has been honed over many applications using both application and vendor risk criteria. Our uplifts to time and costs change dependent upon the size of the implementation and provide SaaS versus on premises comparisons for applicable software. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the specialized analysis that we offer.

Question 2: Why Don’t We Simply Create the Estimations Ourselves or with Help from our Consulting Partner?

Why Buy This Research?

Software Decisions has significantly more expertise in quantitative estimation than any other entity. Our self service estimations are based our proprietary original research, which is the largest and most validated database of enterprise software in the world. We created this database because we knew that the one off approach to enterprise software estimation is costly and inefficient.

The Efficiency Issue

When a project manager within buyers is tasked with developing estimations, each project manager at each buyer must redo a similar analysis. Project managers are generally not given the time to perform a research project and certainly do not compare and contrast their estimations across multiple software categories and the applications within the category. Often they cannot know pricing – without entering into a lengthy and time consuming sales process with software vendors.

Vendor Validation

We have also pre-evaluated vendor statements through our research – so we know the typical implementation time line for each of the products based upon real implementations – something which is also not available to buyers through interacting with either IT analysts, software vendors or consulting firms. While buyers can and do attempt to perform similar types of estimations, it is not anywhere close to as cost effective, nor will the quality or accuracy be as high as if you use our self service calculators. Our self-service calculators are resident within our web pages, and can infinitely adjust specifically to the way you intend to implement the software.


Consulting companies charge weeks of billable hours in addition to travel expenses for what we provide – with far higher accuracy, research capability and zero bias for several hundred dollars per analytical product package. Software Decisions offers our unique research in a self-service form, no other available alternative offers either the quality or the cost effectiveness of our analytical products.

Question 3: How Do We Know if Software Decisions is Biased?

Good Question

The question of bias and influence should be asked of every media outlet. Commentators routinely come on to news programs and without declaring their associations, provide commentary on entities for which they have a financial relationship. During the Gulf wars almost everyone of the ex-Generals that came on to news programs had some ongoing financial relationship with the Pentagon – and their positive portrayal of the war generally helped them continue to gain contracts. Conflicts of interest are supposed to be declares, and if they are not, then the source cannot be considered to be as serious research entity. This problem is rampant with IT analysts with most of them being both buy and sell side. Gartner declares none of its financial conflicts of interests even though we estimate around 30% of its overall revenues come from software vendors – with a disproportionate share coming from the largest software vendors.

How We Work

Our research into financial bias demonstrates that the most important bias to account for is financial bias. Software Decisions takes no compensation in any shape or form from software vendors. This means we are 100% buy side. This should be somewhat evident from our Honest Vendor Ratings and in our MUFI (Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability) Rating & Risk where we provide in some cases critical analysis of vendors and applications – something Gartner or Forrester could never do – as if you criticize customers, they won’t be customers for long.

Our Confidence

Therefore, we can confidently put our objectivity against any other source. This includes IT analyst, and any consulting company. In fact, the competition is not even close. Every entity we have evaluated in the enterprise software space has considerable bias. For

Question #4: Why Are Many of the Analytical Products Limited to a 2 Month Access?

Time Limit Logic

We do not have any specific publication dates or update frequency on our analytical products. They can be updated at any time as new information comes through or as we complete new research. Therefore, the two month limit on our analytical products allows you to fully experience the product, while compensating us as we update it as time passes.

Update Frequency

Most but not all of our analytical products are actually calculators. We periodically refine the formulas as we learn new information. We may even choose to add new fields, or add extra explanations as we receive feedback from our customers. Our concept new information can continually improve the accuracy of our calculations and estimations.



Software is our expertise. We have been evaluating implementing, troubleshooting, and generally working with business software for over 15 years. We come to training from a consultive rather than training background — so our service is highly differentiated versus what our customers are often accustomed to. This training is both user training as well as for those that make purchase and implementation decisions on software. We can explain entire categories of software to improve decision making.

Software Decisions

We do more than just provide training, we also perform detailed analysis of business software that is available online. This is critical information that improves enterprise software decision-making. We provide online analytical products for the following areas:

  • Total Cost of Ownership
  • Software Costs
  • Software Selection
  • Project Costs/Implementation Risk
  • Total Solution Architecture Cost Comparisons (Tier 1 ERP Versus Tier 2 ERP, Tier 1, ERP Versus 100% Best of Breed Solutions)

Learn more about the Software Decisions online offering by simply selecting the other tabs on the page and by selecting the “Analytical Products” drop down off of the menu above.

Highly Quantitative

Our research gets into the most detail in the field, allowing our customers to estimate the costs of new software, the implementation as well as maintenance of software.

100% Buy Side

Unlike most IT analysts, we get into a great deal of detail, and we are 100% buy side, in that we take no money from, and do not solicit business from software vendors. The SCM Focus Press book Gartner and the Magic Quadrant: A Guide for Buyers, Vendors, Investorsexplains the problems inherent to most IT analysts playing “both sides of the fence.” It maximizes profits, but corrupts the media output of these entities. Out financial model is how we can claim to be unbiased.

Our Database

We have developed a database to provide the first comprehensive total cost of ownership estimation database. Our TCO estimations are really total. This is a new approach to TCO for enterprise software which has tended to be calculated on a case by case basis — often at high expense. While this has the benefits of high customization — it also has interfered with the use of TCO. This database is used for our other analytical products as well, and is available to anyone for a modest fee.

This will help in disseminating information that until this point has been kept secret, and has cost a great deal to access — without ever having the confidence that a solid and audible method was being used.

The Benefits

Our software selection, solution architecture, project planning, and TCO analyses cost be far less than if the same TCO study were performed internally for our clients. And, no offense to our clients, but this is our area of expertise.


The fact that we have done this so many times for so many applications means we have standardized the approach and have compared and contrasted our analysis across many applications in ten different software categories.

The Real Story

As we are 100% buy side, we only sell our analytical products to buyers and to investors — and we do not solicit and in fact have no offerings for vendors. This allows us to call them as we see them. All it takes is reading our analytical products one time to know we are providing your with the real story. For example, our Honest Vendors Ratings provide information that consulting companies and IT analysts would never share with their clients.

A First In Enterprise Software

This is the first time this information will be available in a self service form – as SaaS, and from provider without the enormous financial bias of almost all IT analysts or corrupt consulting companies, which are more interested in billing hours than in providing analytical and historical information to their clients. We promise a true revelation.

Analytical Products

Honest Vendor RatingsSoftware vendors rated on innovation, reliability, etc.
Software Category AnalysisHigh level analysis of covered software categories
MUFI Ratings & RiskOur application ratings & risk estimation
Project Planning PackagesInteractive calculator providing FTE, duration, finish date estimates.
Enterprise Software TCO CalculatorsInteractive TCO calculation; software costs, hardware costs, implementation costs & maintenance costs.
Solution Architecture PackagesCost comparisons between different solution architectures.

The Problem: A Lack of Fact-Checking of Software Vendors

A major part of our services are fact-checking information provided to clients that comes from either software vendors or form consulting firms (that are typically in league with the vendors). You may be surprised by how often we fact check claims that turn out to not be true. Any software buyer needs to consult with an independent entity that is not trying to either sell software or sell software implementation services to them.

Being Part of the Solution: What to Do About Dealing with Vendors

We offer fact-checking services that are entirely research-based and that can stop inaccurate information dead in its tracks. Vendors and the consulting firms rely on providing information without any fact-checking entity to contradict the information they provide. This is how companies end up paying for items which are exorbitantly priced, exorbitantly expensive to implement and exorbitantly expensive to maintain.

If you need independent advice and fact-checking that is outside of the conventional vendor system, reach out to us with the form below or with the messenger to the bottom right of the page.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.


What Makes Us Unique

We are the foremost enterprise software estimation company – and the only one to offer our extensively researched TCO analysis as a self service application – at a very small fraction of what any consulting company would charge. In fact the price to access to our estimation database is far below the cost of an internal resource to perform a similar analysis. As we have performed 100s of  estimations and have an extensively tested method, and have written books on this and related topics, we do not consider it immodest to state that neither internally generated nor consulting company generated studies can match our estimators in completeness or accuracy. Simply put, companies that use our estimators are in a more informed position than those that do not.

Where Can This Information be Found

This type of information is unavailable from other entities either consulting companies which attempt to hide the TCO from their clients in order to control their buying behavior in a way that benefits the consulting company rather than you. Secondly this information is unavailable from it analyst firms like Gartner or Forrester that really only talk about estimation in the abstract and do not generate quantitative analyses. In fact neither company or most other it analyst firms can create a true TCO without offending the mega vendors that are their major customers.